Nostalgia: Bowling champions of 1976

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IT was a day of celebration on the lawns of Balgreen Bowling Club as the winner of the 1976 Evening News Champion of Champions trophy was announced.

Willie Wood from Gifford stepped forward to accept the title having produced a superb display in beating Craigentinny bowler George Aitken 21-14 in the final.

Willie Wood receives the Evening News Champion of Champions trophy at Balgreen Bowling Club in July 1976. Picture: TSPL

Willie Wood receives the Evening News Champion of Champions trophy at Balgreen Bowling Club in July 1976. Picture: TSPL

Such victory smiles will be seen across the bowling greens of the Lothians over the coming months as the season gets in full swing, with enthusiasts putting their best feet forward in a sport which has a long-held place in the area’s history.

But there was very little for bowlers to smile about this week in Portobello as tempers flared over news that £40,000 had been spent on a new indoor bowling carpet, despite its club being earmarked for closure.

The purchase of the carpet at Portobello Indoor Bowls and Leisure Centre, on Westbank Street, left many people confused when it emerged it had been laid just 18 months before a controversial decision was made to close the

facility.

There were happier times for bowlers in the summer of 1975 when Avengers actress Honor Blackman – perhaps best known for her role as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger – took to the green at Edinburgh Bowling Club. Delighting players as she enthusiastically gave her all at a press photo call, she revealed she was also intending to do more gentle pursuits – including antique hunting – as she spent a week in Edinburgh while performing at the King’s Theatre.

Equally as diligent in their pursuit of success at the sport, were bowlers at Balgreen during the 1986 Commonwealth Games who refused to let floodwater spoil their fun.